Definition of murmur in English:

murmur

noun

  • 1A low continuous background noise:

    ‘the distant murmur of traffic’
    • ‘Snow-like petals carpeted the lawn, softening the sound of footsteps to a distant murmur.’
    • ‘The pin-drop silence at the start gradually melted into a gentle background murmur, full of the sound of papers rustling, friends whispering and restless feet shuffling.’
    • ‘The whole medical section was silent for a moment save for the hum of equipment, then the background murmur started again.’
    • ‘Synths and strings melt together for a lush background murmur, behind the lean, precise jazz-pop song structures, all wrapped in thick, warm production.’
    • ‘Flags flap briskly in a stiffening wind, providing the only sounds beyond the clicking of cameras and the distant murmur of cars making their slow, careful way to the site.’
    • ‘If you're looking for a glamorous night out, bathed in the glow of candlelight with the unassuming murmur of trip hop in the background, than you've come to the wrong place.’
    • ‘The only sound was the soft murmur of the computers, the steady tick of the clock, and the somewhat less steady tapping of Pierson rhythmically belting his chair with his fingers.’
    • ‘Cath watched long enough that the sounds in the cafeteria became a distant murmur, a sort of background noise to her thoughts.’
    • ‘The noises of the performance were now a distant murmur, but other than that it was completely silent.’
    hum, humming, buzz, buzzing, whir, thrum, thrumming, drone, sigh
    burble, babble, purl, gurgle
    View synonyms
  • 2A softly spoken or almost inaudible utterance:

    ‘a quiet murmur of thanks’
    • ‘There were thousands of murmurs, all whispering: ‘What did he just say?’’
    • ‘He continues to explain himself in a murmur as the whole bank listens in.’
    • ‘He has always answered questions slowly at a voice level hardly above a murmur and it is no different today.’
    • ‘I let out a breath, along with a little murmur of thanks to whatever god might be up there.’
    • ‘Because as soon as you step in, you become aware of a huge sea of noise stretching away before you: whispers, murmurs, bangs, shouts, swearing, poems, confessions, exhortations.’
    • ‘‘I'll teach you,’ he kept muttering, though his murmurs were nearly indecipherable.’
    • ‘There was a general murmur of thanks and hope-she-gets-betters, and then, one by one, they all left the hall in hushed excitement.’
    • ‘He asked quietly in almost a murmur, shifting only slightly in his seat so as not to disturb his precious burden.’
    • ‘Receiving only an inaudible murmur in response, he returned his attention to the occupied seats across the room.’
    • ‘With a murmur of thanks he took it from me and began rapidly riffling through the pages until he came to ‘The Phoenix and the Turtle.’’
    1. 2.1 The quiet or subdued expression of a particular feeling by a group of people:
      ‘there were murmurs of dissent from his colleagues’
      • ‘A murmur of thanks and respect rippled through the room.’
      • ‘There were approving murmurs from people close by and at the conclusion, sustained but restrained applause.’
      • ‘There were soft murmurs of good luck and the class began.’
      • ‘The young woman's attack raises a murmur of approval from the other women in the room.’
      • ‘The response from MPs consisted of sympathetic murmurs and mumbled hear-hears.’
      • ‘But even at this period there were murmurs of dissent: Dr Johnson complained that Milton used ‘English words with a foreign idiom’.’
      • ‘Loud gasps and quiet, anxious murmurs ripple through the lunch crowd.’
      • ‘After that psychological barrier was passed, the remaining scrambles and squeezes were negotiated with relative ease, and any mutinous murmurs were thankfully subdued.’
      • ‘The others murmur what could be approval or embarrassment, nurse their bourbons, and glumly fall back into silence.’
      • ‘Though there are murmurs of general approval, the crowd seems skeptical about its ability to implement such suggestions.’
      • ‘There were murmurs of approval from the men and women of the council.’
      • ‘When the change was announced in 1993 there was not a murmur of dissent.’
      • ‘The air, the quiet murmur of happy kids, it all helped.’
      • ‘Now there's barely the slightest murmur of dissent.’
      • ‘A murmur of disbelief spread through the room, but quieted when she spoke again.’
      • ‘A soft murmur of agreement swept through the rest of them, and they were now facing the General with determination in their eyes.’
      • ‘Her haggard face and melancholy expression elicited a murmur of shock from the assemblage of reporters as she moved to the podium and began to speak.’
      • ‘There are also murmurs of dissent inside the house.’
      • ‘A warm murmur of approval rippled across the room.’
      • ‘Nary a murmur of dissent was voiced amongst the remarkably relaxed muso crowd.’
      • ‘There was a general murmur of approval and excitement.’
      • ‘Wayward-looking tee shots were greeted with expectant murmurs of approval which turned into disappointed applause if the ball ended up on the green.’
      whisper, undertone, mutter, mumble
      complaint, grumble, moan, grouse
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2 A rumour:
      ‘he had heard hints only, murmurs’
      • ‘There are murmurs amongst aficionados of his edgy, Gothic parables of Americana that he has gone over to The Other Side and become mainstream.’
      • ‘There are murmurs of fresh demonstrations in the town.’
      • ‘There were murmurs of the deaths being part of some ritualistic killing.’
      • ‘A key theme of his latest work is the spread of murmurs of apocalyptic marvels and of ambivalent savior-cum-charlatan figures on the horizon.’
      • ‘There are murmurs that although he may have been a victim, he wasn't an innocent victim.’
      • ‘There are murmurs that the incident was politically motivated.’
  • 3Medicine
    A recurring sound heard in the heart through a stethoscope that is usually a sign of disease or damage:

    ‘she had been born with a heart murmur’
    • ‘A murmur is heard through a stethoscope as the heart beats.’
    • ‘Careful examination of the heart may reveal murmurs, extra sounds, or cardiac enlargement.’
    • ‘Sometimes, a doctor can determine with the stethoscope alone whether a particular murmur is a sign of heart disease.’
    • ‘A doctor may suspect aortic valve sclerosis on hearing a heart murmur with a stethoscope.’
    • ‘Cardiac and lung examinations were normal with normal heart sounds and no murmurs.’

verb

  • 1[reporting verb] Say something in a low or indistinct voice:

    [with object] ‘Nina murmured an excuse and hurried away’
    [with direct speech] ‘‘How interesting,’ he murmured quietly’
    • ‘The voice murmured something and the door to their right opened.’
    • ‘‘I still haven't had the pleasure of knowing your name,’ she murmured in a husky voice.’
    • ‘His face turned bright red as he began to murmur an answer while staring at her sheet.’
    • ‘‘We'll chuck your things in my room,’ Alex murmured as he began walking up the stairs to the second floor.’
    • ‘She buried her face into the curve of my neck and hugged me tightly, her soft voice murmuring that everything would be okay.’
    • ‘‘It's alright ’, she murmured, her voice strained and hollow, even to her.’
    • ‘I am so caught up in thinking about the stark contrast that I don't hear the voices murmuring softly behind the door.’
    • ‘He groaned, and almost dreamily began to murmur to himself, ‘You'll show her.’’
    • ‘A hand stroked my hair and the voice murmured reassurances.’
    • ‘The other woman, her voice lower, murmured some words of consolation to her friend.’
    • ‘She paces the room with her baby close to her chest, murmuring quietly against her ear to pacify her.’
    • ‘‘And here is where the real war begins,’ she murmured, opening the drawer of her desk.’
    • ‘He murmured something softly, but I had already left the room.’
    • ‘He kisses me softly on the forehead and murmurs; ‘Let's go.’’
    • ‘My cousin's wife sat in the corner, a daughter on either side, her arms around their shoulders, murmuring prayers softly.’
    1. 1.1murmur againstarchaic [no object] Express one's discontent about (someone or something) in a subdued manner:
      ‘now they do not simply murmur against him, they quarrel noisily with him’
      • ‘The murmurs against Bruno's physical and mental stamina had already begun.’
      • ‘But the scribes and the Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, ‘Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?’’
      complain, moan, mutter, grumble, grouse, carp, whine, bleat
      View synonyms
  • 2[no object] Make a low continuous sound:

    ‘the wind was murmuring through the trees’
    • ‘The sea is remarkably beautiful, turquoise blue and fawn at times, it rages, murmurs, sighs and sings.’
    • ‘The air was luminous; a faint south wind murmured in the pine tops.’
    • ‘If you listen long enough, you could swear you hear the trees talking, murmuring to themselves as they stand stoically in the teeth of the storm.’
    • ‘The voice of the sea is seductive, never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander n abysses of solitude.’
    • ‘You will have just the sound of the wilderness, the wind murmuring through the trees and the sound of your reel as another big fish bends your stick while you and other members of your family who fish enjoy some great sport.’
    • ‘The audience was murmuring, but Gwion continued with his speech.’
    mutter, mumble, whisper, talk under one's breath, speak in an undertone, speak softly, speak sotto voce, speak in hushed tones
    rustle, whir, burble, purl, rumble, sigh
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • without a murmur

    • Without complaining:

      ‘he paid for the meal without a murmur’
      • ‘I was now ready to bear whatever might ensue without a murmur.’
      • ‘Marjorie seems to accept the new arrangement without a murmur.’
      • ‘She was punctual and would work overtime without a murmur.’
      • ‘Many would have expected the matter to have been discussed at last month's county board meeting but it was passed over by delegates without a murmur, with the post left vacant.’
      • ‘And in both airports, the Swiss army knife on my keychain in my purse went through without a murmur.’
      • ‘Without mum to say they won't eat potatoes they will probably do what you suggest without a murmur.’
      • ‘When Antoninus died on 7 March 161, Marcus Aurelius succeeded without a murmur from either the army or the Senate.’
      • ‘This deal would have gone through without a murmur if we hadn't fought back.’
      • ‘Sure, I had to empty the hopper rather more frequently, and ended up with two sacks of cuttings rather than one, but the mower handled the job of cutting two week's growth without a murmur.’
      • ‘The teacher was Ok, though, and she accepted my excuse of being lost without a murmur.’

Origin

Late Middle English: from Old French murmure, from murmurer to murmur, from Latin murmurare, from murmur a murmur.

Pronunciation:

murmur

/ˈməːmə/